Sorry Hammers are humiliated at the Olympic Stadium – again

Once again I find myself in the unenviable position of having to try to write in a coherent and measured style, following yet another shambolic performance at the Olympic stadium. What I really want to do is scream.

There were very few positives to take from the encounter against Manchester City but I will begin by highlighting those that I can just about recall.

  1. The way in which the Ferghouli started and our general composure during the opening 25 minutes should perhaps give us some encouragement that we can actually play football at times.
  2. We were solid and compact at the start, although undoubtedly conceding the majority of possession, and we were competitive during this opening period.
  3. It could be argued that once again the game turned on a very dubious penalty award to the big club. That does not excuse the subsequent capitulation but it is the case that at 1-0 down following the award of yet another non-penalty, we felt as though we ought to try to chase the game. (Of course, this was absolutely not the case so early on and showed tactical naivete which then resulted in wide open spaces and the concession of two further goals before half time, rendering the remainder of the contest an academic exercise.)

Hmmn. I seem to have pretty much exhausted the positives. The negatives were many. Here are just a few of the low-lights (no doubt you’ll have spotted others):

  1. Amongst the many failures this evening was indeed that aforementioned intelligence test. At half time, and in a cup game, one hoped to see some sort of tactical readjustment by the manager to at least have a go at our more illustrious opponents. It did not materialise. The same 11 players re-emerged after the half time interval and worse, only to stroll around the pitch looking lost and forlorn – seemingly waiting for the inevitable 4th goal that would begin to signal a deepening of the already embarrassing state of affairs. And so it came to pass.
  2. (And this may not go down too well with some of you) we need to ship out Payet and cash in on his worth while we still have that opportunity. This player has clearly lost any intention of putting in any sort of a shift for our club and is, in my view, holding back the progression of the team.
  3. (And it pains me to say this too) I am now beginning to lose faith in our manager. Any team that can shows such a lack of passion, of fight, of even basic tactical or game management expertise must surely be being led poorly. I am at the point of concluding that Slaven Bilic may no longer be the answer.


I expected to lose this evening and perhaps even to lose heavily. Despite that fact, this is a defeat that is every bit as painful as it could have been anticipated to have been and leaves us all with a sense of trepidation for the future.


Testing times indeed my dear Hammers.

  • Tom

    Very very painful tonight, I shuddered when I saw the line up, Nordveit, Fegouli and Fernandes are not good enough at this level …. 4-4-2 got us overrun at their place and just like the league game they simply built up a head of steam and stormed us down the flanks time and time again … I thought it was a soft penalty but we gave up like we didn’t believe …

    I hoped half time would see Reece Oxford come on, go 3-4-3, move Fernandes wide and add Fletcher for Fegouli but as you said we did nothing and it showed in our play … as for your assumption on Payet, I don’t blame him … I have said all season the summer signing were awful yet I get called deluded … we couldn’t beat Astra with this team so who thought we could compete tonight … for me Payet is looking at our owners talking Billy big bollox but delivering nothing but chaff … by openly saying on the club’s website through an apparent Insider we have made bids for Tom Dick and Harry but the hearing no bid here, derisory bid there and a laughable £3m for Snodgrass has made us a complete laughing stock … Payet must feel ashamed when he goes away on International Duty

    As for Slaven, I’m sad to say but he must foot the blame tonight, team selection, tactics and subs were as bad as it gets …

  • kevin mousley

    I thought we’d lose but not in such a gutless, chaotic, beheaded chicken sort of way.I too think Payet should be sold but frankly it’s not an option; he was only going to stay if we snuck onto the CL this year and as it’s obvious we won’t; he’ll be off. I don’t blame him, he’s a class act that deserves a better team, especially at his age. It would be wrong to lay anything this season at his door.. a team with Euro ambitions can’t rely on one player to carry them. I think we missed Kouyate and it being screaming obvious that he and Obiang should have been paired in centre midfield from the start, instead of Noble, is one of a long line of tactical & selection gaffs by Bilic. You can moan about the summer transfer catastrophes as long as you like but with a canny manager we’d be comfortably top half and thinking about how to finish off the squad with a bit if quality instead of thrashing around in a publicly embarassing manner as we are now..Bilic is squarely at fault here. Good managers conduct the team and put the owners back in their directors box. Face it he ain’t good enough and must go.Some say good players should be able to get it together without a manager but experience in other sports as well as football proves otherwise..look at Eng Rugby..Cycling and Cricket ..pretty much same players different manager. I understand the antipathy toward BFS but he’s the only manger to leave us in a better state than he found us we need someone else to do the same!

    • Headmaster1

      You were going well there, Kev, til you mentioned the ‘A’ word.

      • kevin mousley

        I know. I’m not suggesting we have him back or anyone like him and glad he went when he did but just making point he left a legacy unlike any manager we have ever had.

        • BOMAD

          Sadly I agree with that!!

        • Academy of Football

          Wash your mouth out!!

          All S left was hate

          We are 13th and still a long way to go in the league. Anything below 10th then it’s a bad season

          • kevin mousley

            When he came we were in championship and when he left we were half up the PL with the spine of the team that did so well last may br unpalatable but true!

          • Academy of Football

            I can’t argue that Kev when it’s laid like that.

    • Rebel Hammer

      Crystal Palace next. Lose to Allardyce and Bilic is gone.

  • Rebel Hammer

    Bilic absolutely clueless tactically. Don’t tell me about last season. Last season is history. Shoot me down if you must but Bilic is starting to resemble Avram. Awful manager.

  • Rebel Hammer

    But hey, he’s a nice guy. WTF.

  • Rebel Hammer

    West Ham has been trending all night on Twitter. We are currently a worldwide laughing stock.

    • razorwine

      Your so interesting keep those wise posts going

  • ClaretNBlues

    I’m done!! Seriously.
    I said to HM earlier that I was expecting some kind of thrashing tonight so this wasn’t really a massive shock to me. But what WAS a shock was the complete lack of interest from the players and the manager.

    I’m sorry, as much as I love Slav I have to say he’s a dead man walking! Out of respect and decency I would still like to give him a few more weeks to turn things around but I don’t personally think he is capable of doing it.

    If I was him I think I would have probably walked by now. How on earth he has stood by and let these conmen, cowboy owners turn him into a laughing stock astounds me. All he is doing is ruining his reputation as a manager and surely whatever follows tonight is nothing more than damage limitation?

    The sooner these arseholes sell our club and get the f**k out the better as far as I’m concerned.

    Slate me all want! That’s how I feel and I really don’t care.

    • Guesty

      You just need a full body massage Matt that will relax you. Send the wife and kids out for a KFC and dial one of those 0800 numbers in the local paper and everything will be fine and you’ll be ready for Cuddly Sam next weekend. Ahhh Big Sam. There’s always sunlight on the horizon to cheer you up!

    • Roshi

      The team spirit is non existent, the soul of our team has gone. An owner sitting in his ridiculous coat and hat making offers for players looking for a last hurrah. A manager who looks ill, with a body language that is shouting out “I am at my wits end”. Players who are just not up to the job or good enough.
      So much is wrong, I won’t blame the stadium but I will say that to much time and effort was spent on the move and not enough on preparing for this season. The whole scene we find ourselves in smacks of bad business management, Bilic is just a puppet for our egotistical hierarchy.

  • Micky Szczygiel

    Shocking performance

    Gutless, tactically inept, no cutting edge, defence all at sea, keeper in no man’s land, woeful passing, lack of fight, misfiring strikers, non existent wing backs.

    I could go on but this is West Ham, you’d think I would be used to it by now!

    Just when you think things cannot get any worse, they will.

    This is the West Ham Way

    • Goatygav

      Said the same to my Nephew as we were descending the steps from row 66. West Ham way indeed.

  • Guesty

    I feel so bloody deflated after that. I’m glad you listed the positives Head because they give me hope. We were well in the game for the first third of the match. A dodgy penalty (yet another) and a bad miss by Feg and BOOM the house of cards tumble down. That fact makes it worse that we then end up losing 5-0.

    I agree with you about Payet and Billic as much as it pains me to admit it. I’d take £50M for Payet right now. Billic made baffling decisions tonight as others have highlighted and it’s going to take balls of steel by the owners to stand by him. I have a hunch they will actually and if they do I wish them well for all our sakes.

    What is needed now is some pronto activity in the transfer market. I’m assuming the bye-byes to Zaza Arbelio and Tore have released significant funds (apart from wages don’t forget there was £40M set aside to buy these players) so the owners need to back (or sack) Billic and get in the players we so clearly need. If that happens we can push on in the Premiership.

    I know there is lots of knee jerk reactions to the owners and Billic but be realistic the owners ARE NOT going anywhere and Billic hasn’t suddenly become rubbish after a season when we were all raving about him narrowly missing a top 4 finish. As I say balls of steel needed.

    Funny how my word check keeps correcting Billic for Bollox lol.

  • Philtheiron

    Even though I have just sat through all ninety agonising minutes of it, I still can’t believe what I have just witnessed.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I have witnessed some humiliations, capitulations and collapses over the years but this one has really hurt.

    Most of the time over the years we got our drubbings because we were usually shite. But this was something else.

    And the thing that really worries me is, I haven’t got a clue where we go from here.
    The January window is nota time suited for major rebuilding and teams just don’t want to sell their best players.

    One minute we were heading for Europe the next straight down the pan!
    And I’m afraid excuses like referees blunders, the move or the new stadium are wearing very thin I’m afraid.

    Other than the inexplicable collapse the thing that really sickened me tonight was our old friend fat frank waxing about his time at our club,( he hates us and we hate him!), then saying it was a penalty and finally using the” we” word when talking about citeh!

    Ian wright had more feeling about our club and he’s a gooner!

    But for the first 25-30mins we coped with them well and I thought we passed the ball quite well.
    Then they stopped trying to pass the ball through us through the middle and then destroyed us on the flanks.

    It was thus switch more than any dodgey penalty or missing a sitter, that sealed our fate.

    • kevin mousley

      Dunno I thought Watford and West Brom were more abject at least City are capable of doing that to any team.

      • Philtheiron

        Hi mate,
        unfortunately you are probably right, there are so many to choose from.

        What a terrible season this is turning out to be.

        Who’d have thought with the fireworks ringing in our ears that our first season at the London stadium would be all over well before xmas?!

  • Goatygav

    Left Wycombe with the boys at 4.15. Got to Westfield Centre at 6.00. Met up with Nephew and his father in law, outside gate G, at 7.15. Got sat down as they kicked off. Got to car, at Westfield, at 10.20ish. Got home at 11.30. There’s 7 and a quarter hours I’ll never get back.

    Gutless – totally gutless and spineless. Usually, when there was a bad game, you can at least say that one or two players put in a decent shift. Not last night.

    Not sure who was wearing the number 3 shirt last night but it couldn’t have been Aaron Cresswell. Whoever it was can we have the real Aaron Cresswell back please? You know, the one that defends AND attacks well. The person wearing number 3 last night did neither.

    AC was having a little stroll around on his Birthday. How nice for him. Clearly didn’t fancy it and must have been relieved when he was subbed in the 2nd half.

    Why, oh why did Slaven accommodate Feghouli by playing Antonio on the left because it hamstrung one of our most threatening players this season and it showed what Feghouli is really about in the Premier League IMO. He just doesn’t cut it. From where we were sat, which was an ideal vantage point, it looked a terrible, terrible glaring miss – a real howler that would’ve made it one each.

    Fernandes had his first bad game for us IMO. Fletcher couldn’t do much – I won’t be too tough on him as it was a difficult situation to come in to with Man City buzzing by that stage of the game.

    I was coming around to Nordtveit but last night he looked lost. Reid and Ogbonna were exposed, TBF, but even they seemed to give up in the 2nd half.

    I’ve got nothing bad to say about Adrian based on what I saw last night. Without him the scoreline would have been even worse.

    Slaven got it wrong. Sitting deep invited them on and they obliged. Playing players out of position didn’t work. Lanzini was the only one who looked like he might spark something going forward but he took him off. I know that he hasn’t quite clicked with Payet as often as last season but there have been flashes of it. They need time on the pitch together on matchdays and don’t seem to be getting much lately. Payet should have started if we wanted to win.

    Man of the match was Spiderman who put in an appearance around the 88 minute mark – the guy without trousers who tripped him in the penalty area ran him a close second.

    Fair enough. We weren’t too bad for the first 15-20 mins but weren’t exactly great afterwards. The only excuse that I’ll accept is the fact that Kouyate was absent. Please come back soon Cheikhou. Love you to bits and wish you all the best for Senegal but, being completely selifsh, we need you back because we just have absolutely no bite in our midfield without you.

    Personally I’m very unimpressed with fans who leave in their droves before the final whistle. Those departing at 50 minutes should hang their heads in shame. Inexcusable. Support your team or let someone who wants to be there – be there! I know it’s your choice but please realise that it really doesn’t help at all.

    A shameful night in the history of West Ham United. Atrocious on every level. None of them could have fought their way out of a paper bag. Grrrrr!

  • Beasticus Maximus

    I was at work last night so I missed the game, however, I have now seen it in its entirity and ..;..well… I have to say I wasnt uncomfortable watching it until the second goal went in. Dodgy penalty aside (and when are the FA going to shift the onus onto the attacking player to stay on his feet if possible) on the ball it wasnt our worst display, off the ball was dreadful.Having watched it and then sat quietly and reflected on what i had just subjected myself to the first thing that sprang to mind was, “have these players been told to stay fit and out of the referees book?
    I lost count of how many times a City player picked up the ball with his back to our goal, controlled it, turned, looked up, teed the ball up, and picked out a pass, all without being challenged.
    Its ok holding a line and trying to keep shape but at some point as a team you have to go pressure the ball and we didnt. Played right into their hands and got the drubbing we so richly deserved.
    The club have much more important things to worry about than the FA cup at the moment, but if this continues on through the rest of the season, we are going to be in quite some considerable trouble come may.

    • Goatygav

      The shape wasn’t all that compact even considering we sat deep BM. Yes – there wasn’t much space between midfield and defence but there was a lot of space between the full backs and CBs. As the game progressed they got pulled all over the place anyway. Not Slaven’s finest hour but I still strongly feel he’s the man.

      • Rebel Hammer

        Sorry Goatygav but I can’t see how he is the man. He has no tactical sense beyond picking a formation. He can occassionally get a win against higher ranked teams yes. Only occassionally though, and that’s not enough to make him the right man.
        Is he the man just on the basis of last season? A season that was a freak, a one off for every club. A season where all the top teams were crap. A season where the early good form gave us a decent position so that when the form nosedived in the latter stages it didn’t seem so bad.
        Or is he the man just because he’s likeable as a person?
        It’s not the first complete capitulation his team has had, it’s almost a habit, and has been a feature of every team he has managed. Maybe because everyone loves him is the problem, more of a mate to the players rather than a manager.

        • Goatygav

          None of those reasons. The reality is that we played some superb football last season under him. He’s an experienced manager who has got the best of out players at club and international level. Lots of external influences beyond his control this season IMO. The new stadium effect. Injuries. Poor player recruitment to name but a few (which I don’t blame him for).

          I agree he’s made some mistakes but to say he has no tactical sense is not true. I’m going back to the last manager we had that was incapable of changing anything mid game but stuck rigidly to the same system, only capable of making like for like subs during a match, with no plan B. Slaven has already shown that he can change things and affect games positively.

          The away fans are the barometer and you’ll hear them singing ‘Super Slaven Bilic’ every time. Most of the pressure on Slaven is Paper Talk IMO – most matchday fans are behind him.

          • razorwine

            Nice to see a sensible post and one that looks at the big picture every match and actually knows something about management and west ham .

          • AdeludedCoker

            With you on Slav being the man (for the time being, at least…), but part of the reason I think we should back him and give him time to put things right is that I think he’s actually quite an inexperienced manager, at club level, at least.

            Discount the year he spent as (I believe) as a young player-manager at Hadjuk Split before becoming involved in the Croatian national set up he only managed Lokomotiv Moscow for one season and Besiktas for two before coming to us.

            He’s certainly not blameless for our performances this season, but he’s still learning and I think he’s big enough and good enough to look at himself and work to put things right. As you say, other things like the new stadium (and huge pitch…) and appalling summer recruitment (which I do think he’s partly to blame for) have also, played their part.

            I think we’ve lost a lot of our our identity and personality as well as our direction this season with the move to the OS, and that is something the board needs to address. There’s more to becoming a ‘big club’ than just moving into a big, far from ideal stadium, which you’ve got on the cheap.

          • Goatygav

            You’re correct about the right man for the time being Ade. Also really like what you’ve said about him learning and growing and deserving the chance to continue to do so. Pushing the panic button isn’t something that successful clubs do and I’m glad that the Owners and Karren Brady tend not to. Great post mate.

        • razorwine

          Yep lets get fat sam back make you happy that oh and try posting when we win also

      • Beasticus Maximus

        I think for the time being Slav has to be the man Gav. Ive never jumped on the sack the manager bandwagon without having some idea of who to replace him with and right now I cant see who could come in and do a better job with the squad we have.
        Thats not to say I dont have questions ,I do, and they are manyfold but i dont think this is the time for that just yet..
        You are right ,of course, once the first goal went in we got pulled around like puppets on strings and it was painful to watch. What upsets me more than the score was the lack of passion in the performance. If we can play a high line and squeeze the game against United, why couldnt we do it against City?

  • Tom

    Day after the night before and the more you watch the more you can not help but point fingers at Slaven … for me it was a soft penalty but let’s not quibble too much because had we won it we’d have taken it … for me once we went a goal behind Antonio and Fegouli left their full backs exposed … no team work on either flank and they used their pace to close us down and force us to sit deep … I feel both the second and third goals should have been taken by Adrian who was rooted to his line … the owners talk big but we do not have a presence in goal and a top keeper would have taken both crosses …

    That said the lack of half time changes was alarming … why not bring Reece Oxford on, go three at the back, add width, bring on Fletcher too and feed Andy Carol … force Citeh back and have a go … the complete lack of effort was not just down to Slaven though, no leaders stood up no crunching tackles went in it was like a testimonial game gone wrong … why then bring Noble and Payet on is beyond me as Citeh had totally chilled out and eased off …

    At this level not one of the summer signings is good enough, Ayew at £20m .. the freebies were free for a reason and the clear fact we neglected to sign any quality lack belief … yet again Slaven must along with the owners stand up and be counted … it is not the stadium, albeit will never be a football stadium it is the complete incompetence of the board and manager who have made the transition the ugly mess it has become …

    For the sceptics still reading … we won three tight games on the back of some thumpings … those games were against Burnley, Hull and Swansea … that is our level I’m afraid … those who think Tore, Zaza, Nordveit and co are mustard are the deluded ones … aye they might have moments but ultimately the proof is in the results ..

    • Goatygav

      He refuses to give Reece Oxford any game time. Very doubtful we’ll see him play this season now we’re out of both cups. Personally disappointed about that 🙁 .

      • Guesty

        Agree with most of that tho I’m not sure who these deluded ones are that think Zaza Tore and Nordtvielt are mustard? I’ve not met them! I think just Norvielt is splitting opinion but that’s more in hope than expectation.

        The board have a chance to put it right this window but it will take £40M and then it remains will Slaven be able to motivate them?

        • Academy of Football

          3 million for snodgrass says it all

      • Academy of Football

        He’s just come back from injury I think

  • Guesty

    Any reason why this site hasn’t run the article by the WHUISA guys? I’m not a member or even particularly pro the ISA but it’s debateworthy i would say.

    • Goatygav

      I’m sure they’ll get to 2000 members. Not sure what the criteria to join is. I’m not a ST holder. Please feel free to post a link here mate – I’m sure it would get it’s own thread if appropriate 😎

      • Guesty

        I’ve no interest in joining Gav until I know more about it ie who is the other joint chair and who is on the committee. People are joining like it’s the bloody Tufty Club because they want a low membership number for bragging rights, there are West Ham “fans” mostly bloggers who I would not want to represent me! The SAB was a waste of time with star struck fans just wanting to feel consulted. The ISA will go the same way or will be run by a bunch of rabble rousers who just want to cause trouble for the club and be noticed. If they can find some middle ground then I’d join but these things have a habit of going from one extreme to another. To be fair Paul Christmas seems a decent lad but it depends who he surrounds himself with.